A 1-2-3 Plan to Spend Smart, Plus 10 Ways to Be Financially Happy

By Alice Wood
Author of Wealth Watchers

Knowing where you stand with money is the key to financial happiness. Wealth Watchers is a 3-step program that can get you there. All you need to do is:
1. Evaluate
2. Determine
3. Track

Here's how to put the 1-2-3 into play:
Evaluate how much money is coming in (or not coming in) each month and figure out how much money has to go out each month. Feel free to estimate if your numbers change from month to month.

Determine how much is left after covering all of your monthly expenses. Subtract that number from your monthly income. Divide that figure by the number of days in the month to reach your daily spending goal. Why break it down to the day? Because blowing your budget by as little as $5 a day will leave you in debt by almost $2,000 by the end of the year. And any savings multiplied by 365 is a worthwhile goal.

Track all of your spending as you're spending money. It forces a "think before you spend" moment.

Ready? Here are 10 more tips to help you get started.
1. Have a goal.
2. Share your goal.
3. Find an Accountability Partner.
4. Try to marry someone who won't bankrupt you.
5. Take a look at every monthly expense and see if you can find a way to lower those bills.
6. Know down to the day how much money you have to spend.
7. Track your spending to find your black hole. Ben Franklin was right. Little leaks sink great ships.
8. Automatically transfer a certain amount into a savings account each month. Don't worry if it's only a small amount. The turtle always wins the race.
9. Learn to cook. Almost everyone spends too much money eating out.
10. Less is more... and it's less expensive.

At the end of the day, we can all spend more money than we make-but we shouldn't. Good luck!

You can get more tips like these, plus helpful lifestyle advice, parenting info, and recipes in the Tips on Life & Love newsletter.

Related Links:
Buy Wealth Watchers
VIDEO: Alice Woods discusses how Wealth Watchers works
10 Drastic Ways to Cut Your Expenses by $600 per Month
How to Take the Cash-Only Challenge: Live without Plastic to Save Money
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